Since the outbreak of Coronavirus in South Africa, and the absolute fear everyone is feeling about contracting the virus, people are avoiding visiting their local GP or Specialists.
Patients with underlying health issues who should have regular check-ups are now risking their own lives.
There have been numerous reports of patients who had heart attacks, strokes, brain aneurisms and subsequently died, which could have been avoided if they visited their GP in time.
The general consensus seem to be, that patients would rather phone for a script than going to the doctor, due to the anxiety they feel of being possibly infected with Covid-19.
An article by health status stated that some people will only go the doctor if they have an emergency or go to the emergency room. Studies have shown that the poor or uninsured often go for extended periods without the proper needed care. This is unfortunate as early detection of non-Covid-19 cases can save lives.
High Blood Pressure is another killer that can easily be treated with proper medication, but if left untreated could cause a heart attack or stroke. After infants, persons with underlying chronic medical conditions have the greatest need to visit the doctor.
Dr Antonie van Niekerk of the PulseMed Medical Practice told Tame Times, “We are extremely concerned that patients with chronic diseases are not being managed properly and are at a higher risk if they were to contract Covid-19. All precautions are taken at our practice to ensure patients are safe. All patients are screened telephonically before a consultation will be scheduled. This includes questions regarding possible symptoms of Covid-19 infection. All patients concerned about being infected with Covid-19 should phone their doctors’ rooms ahead of time and will likely be sent for an off-site swab. The test results will then be telephonically confirmed by your doctor.”
Dr Van Niekerk also added, “The following chronic patients should not cancel their scheduled appointments: diabetics, patients with hypertension, emphysema, cancer patients, TB, HiV/Aids or any patient with underlying health problems. We are also available for virtual consultations with patients, including those with potential psychological issues due to the immense stress of the lockdown. Many psychologists are also available online for those who are in dire need of help. ”
“Prevention is better than cure, “said Dr Van Niekerk
A Tame Times reader shared their experience at The Ear & Eye Clinic in Meyersdal, Alberton to show that we are not in harm’s way when visiting a doctor.
“My mom had severe bleeding in her eye and subsequently had to undergo emergency surgery in March. The operation was a success but due to the severity of the bleed and her nearly losing the eye we had to go back once a week. Even before the lockdown occurred, The Ear & Eye Clinic ensured the safety of all patients as a matter of vital importance. As you entered the clinic your temperature was taken, your hands sanitised, and you were provided with a sticker to show that you went through the screening process. All patients were seated far away from each other to avoid any unnecessary contact. As you enter the consultation room, once again, your hands were sanitised and all equipment thoroughly disinfected. We felt absolutely safe and so grateful for all the precautions they took. Thank you for taking such great care of my mother during this pandemic and lessening the stress factor of visiting your clinic.”
Sources: Dr van Niekerk, healthstatus
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